Book Recommendations based on Lorde's Melodrama

        If you’re anything like me, you’ve been listening to Melodrama on repeat since Lorde released it. And I know that a couple of plays in, I started wanting haunting and beautiful books that expand on what Lorde talks about in her songs and play with the same ideas as she does. So here are eleven books to pair with your Melodrama listening experience.


1.     Green Light – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:


This one may be an obvious choice. Gatsby is always searching for his green light, the one thing that money can’t buy and that he can never truly have. And Lorde subtly hints to Royals from her first album saying that money can’t buy her happiness. Lorde’s first album is about being an outsider in the music community; and just as Gatsby will never fit in amongst the old money he surrounds himself with, Lorde will never feel like she fits into the mainstream music industry. This pairing is pretty much perfect.


2.     Sober – Give Me a God I Can Relate To by Blythe Baird:


There’s a beauty to Blythe’s poetry that is reminiscent of the ethereal beauty of Lorde’s lyricism. Everything will hurt and you will leave bruised and broken, but even as you listen and read, you know that everything will be okay in the end. Both have an impressive ability to portray fairy tale tropes with their styles without ever actually referencing any cliches of the genre.


3.     Homemade Dynamite – Crown of Blood by Nicola Tallis:


Homemade Dynamite is about a really great party and a night that has the potential to go horribly wrong. And what else was the Tudor reign really about? This is a biography of Lady Jane Grey, who was the queen of England for thirteen days. Those thirteen days involved a lot of scheming on the part of those who put her there and a lot of elaborate jewels and meals. Like Lorde, Jane Grey was in many ways an outsider to the court, but unlike Lorde she fell.


4.     The Louvre – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Frannie Flagg:



This book isn’t just a love story. It tells two different stories of love, one of a romantic love and the other of a friendship. Not only was it a surprising portrayal of lesbian love for its time, it’s also wonderfully written. It may not be hanging in the Louvre, but then again, Lorde isn’t actually either.


5.     Liability – Marilyn Monroe by Barbara Leaming:



Fame doesn’t always have a negative effect on the famous, but when it does it strikes hard. Lorde describes the uncomfortable feelings of those around her had with her fame. Leaming takes us into Marilyn’s inability to deal with her own fame as well as the struggles those around her, most notably Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, have with her fame. Both show women who are not afraid to own their careers and their fame, and who make the men around them uncomfortable.


6.     Hard Feelings/Loveless – Jackknife by Jan Beatty:



Falling in love with a person or a place can be beautiful, but life is not gentle.


7.     Sober II – Lucky by Alice Sebold



This is the story of Alice’s rape and her subsequent trial. Maybe the story behind Lorde’s song isn’t the same, but a lot of the feelings are: the idea that everyone around you can’t feel the emotions you’re feeling and they dismiss them as pure melodrama when they mean so much more.


8.     Writer in the Dark – Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding:



Bridget Jones won’t be choosing between Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver, but whatever does happen, she’ll record it all in her diary. Lorde does the same, although she airs her grievances a little more publicly (read: in song) than Bridget does. But it’s like she says: “you ought to rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark.” The same holds true for Bridget.


9.     Supercut – Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver:



Samantha Kingston is forced to relive February 12th, the day she died, over and over again. In her head, she does everything right. In reality, things are a little bit different.


10.  Liability (Reprise) – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher:



Liability (Reprise) is not a happy song. Thirteen Reasons Why is not a happy book. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re taking up too much space by just existing, and sometimes it’s easier to bite back at someone indirectly and after the fact. Both Liability (Reprise) and Hannah’s tapes are a rebuttal and a method of revenge.


11.  Perfect Places – The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert:



No place is perfect, but some are far less perfect than others.


I hope these books take you to places the songs do, and I hope they bring you some of the joy or catharsis they’ve brought me.